Public Transport in Dubai

Find out how to get around Dubai or between Emirates using the public transport systems. Also information on fares and purchasing Nol travel cards...

The Roads & Transportation Authority (RTA) is responsible for all public transportation in Dubai. The RTA operates buses, trains, taxis, water taxis and Inter-Emirate buses. In general, public transportation is safe to use, convenient and reliable.

Planning a Trip

With proper planning, it is easy to get around Dubai using public transport only. The RTA has an online tool to help travellers plan their trip.

Using Public Transport in Dubai

  • Eating, drinking, chewing gum, smoking and littering are all prohibited: A person can receive a ticket, an on-the-spot fine, or be detained if caught
  • A person may not transport alcohol on public transport or ride while intoxicated
  • If property is forgotten on public transport, make a note of the route information and report it immediately to the RTA. Lost items may also be returned to the police
  • Taxi drivers may round the fare up to avoid making change. A person is only only obliged to pay the amount on the metre and tipping is also optional
  • Animals are not allowed on public transportation. Service dogs accompanying passengers with special needs are allowed

Public Transport Fares and Travel Cards

Only cash may be used in a taxi, abra or Inter-Emirate bus. All other public transport requires passengers to use a Nol card.

Nol cards

Nol cards are prepaid smart cards that are used when travelling on the Metro, bus and water bus. There are four types of cards: Silver, Gold, Red and Blue. All cards can be reloaded with travel credits to avoid buying a new Nol card for each trip except Red cards, which are only valid for 90 days or ten trips.

A Nol card can be purchased and topped up at ticket offices and vending machines in Metro stations, RTA customer service centres and authorised sales agents. Additionally, Nol Blue cards can be purchased online.

  • To find the nearest place to purchase a Nol card: Click here

Proof of identity is all that is required. For Nol Blue cards a passport sized photo is also required.

Dubai is divided into five separate zones to determine fees for buses and the Metro. Passengers are charged for each zone crossed, per single trip on each mode of transportation.

  • For further information on zones and fares: Click here

Children who are under the age of five and are below 90 cm in height travel for free.

How to use a Nol card

Nol cards are easy to use. Simply touch the card to the card reader until a beep is heard. This signals that a person has enough credits to go through.

The Nol card must be presented upon entry and exit. If the card is not presented when exiting, a person is charged the maximum amount (AED 14) for the day.

Discounted fare Nol cards

Full time students and special needs passengers are eligible for discounted Nol Blue cards. Students aged 5 to 23 years must provide proof of enrolment at an accredited school in the UAE. People with special needs must have a permanent disability and submit proof of this from the Ministry of Social Affairs. Senior citizens discounts only apply to UAE nationals aged 60 and over.

Application for the card can be submitted online or at a Metro or bus station ticket counter. Cards are delivered via courier within two weeks.

Applicants must submit:

  • UAE National ID card
  • Photograph
  • Stamped letter from school with student details (students only)
  • Copy of Permanent Disability Card (special needs riders only)